Pacific Island wedding getaway

It's official photo time! Nicole and Marcel pose for their photos on the beach at Barefoot Manta resort in Fiji.

Earlier in September we were lucky enough to visit the serene Barefoot Manta in the Yasawa Islands in Fiji to photograph a wedding for the beautiful Nicole and her husband-to-be-Marcel. 

Straight away we felt at home. The Barefoot Manta staff treated us like family, they ran crab races for the kids, showed us how to cut coconuts with a machete, sang to us and the local village performed a traditional Meke for the wedding couple.

Music is woven into the fabric of Fiji and the Meke embraces traditional song and dance to tell of legends, love stories, history and spirits of the islands. The Vakatara - the orchestra - sit on the ground and sing for the dancers (the Matana). The performers wear garlands of flowers (Salusalu), the men wear full warrior costume and the women traditional clothes. 

A once-in-a-lifetime experience was swimming with the manta rays that visit the channel running between Barefoot Manta Island and neighbouring Naviti Island. Between May and October mantas visit to cruise the plankton-rich waters. With wingspans up to 6 metres, we were astounded at their grace and size.

We wanted to contribute to the community hosting us, and chose the wonderful organisation Pack for a Purpose. We decided to donate much-needed medical supplies to support the tireless community work done at the Kese Health Centre, and many other visitors in the wedding party also brought children's clothes and toys, educational supplies and books and toothbrushes and toothpaste galore. 

Thanks for the experience Fiji, we can't wait to go back!

Wedding celebrations, the rings up close and a traditional song performed for the newlyweds by the villagers on the island.

Saya Wahrlich